On neighborhood kids

It was a bright and shiny summer day, a mere 100 degrees at just 9:30 in the morning. I’m minding my own business just taking in the moments of a morning dog walking session, when out of nowhere runs a kid across the lawn.

Franklin the dog, of course, goes wild. He’s screaming and barking and yearning to get to the kid. The kid has that gleeful expression of a child who is both fearful and intrigued. A paradox of wanting to play and wanting to run.

I, of course, being the great school teacher that I am, have to engage in conversation with this kid and give him an opportunity to grow in courage and new experiences — that’s what anybody would naturally be thinking about, right?

I ask, “Do you want to meet him? He’s really nice.” Meanwhile, my rabid dog screams out viscous words in his own dog language.

The child jumps up onto an electrical box trying to get out of paw’s reach from my ever so intimidating 16 pound poodle.

“Please, please just get him away from me!” shouts the child in a both amused and excited, yet not fearful voice.

As we walk away, of course Franklin instantly turns into the most adorable dog ever with no trace of the vicious creature to be seen.

“Wait, wait! Can I pet him?? Please!!!”

We turn around and Frankin trots up and puts on his most civil dog face.

This child and I proceed to have a pleasant conversation about Franklin. As we walk away, I realize, “Hey, wait…where are you supposed to be right now?”

“At my Granny’s…but I live right here,” as he points to the door, “I’m just getting something then going back.”




V is for Victory

I wrote this sometime last year. I’m not sure when, but it must have been during the spring of my second year of teaching. I like this version of myself because it shows the highlights of the year and it shows me that life is not all bad. It makes me remember the small victories, and those are the most important of them all.

TLDR; Claim victory anyway. Search for it, find it, and claim it. You can find it in almost any situation.

Can we just be real for a second? There were and there are days where I resent God for this calling. I remember crying hysterically days before my 2nd year of teaching began, just realizing how upset I was that God gave me this calling. I’ve questioned it. Mentally run from it. Lashed out in anger because of it.

But, in the past few weeks, I seem to be finding my footing again. Inspiration is on the horizon. Dare I say, even excitement?

Today, I praise God for this calling that has stretched beyond what I ever imagined, challenged me beyond my own strength, convicted me of the sin within, shown me parts of myself I never knew existed, given me a good dose of reality and awareness of my smallness. I praise God for the fire and how He’s walked me through it, despite all the kicking and screaming I’ve done. And, that is more literal than one might expect. What an honor to be disciplined in this way, said my friend Sharon. And maybe God’s not taking this trial away anytime soon, but maybe I can walk in peace & joy in that anyway. Do I want my life and my days to go back to being easy? Stress-free? Relaxing?

YES. YES FOR THE SUMMER. But, for the other 9 months of the year. My days are filled with tears that aren’t my own, shouts for approval, acceptance, and love. Repeating myself for the hundred millionth time. Demanding that kids take risks, while also quietly knowing that I must do so also.

So, today I walk forward in victory because I know that at least in this one snapshot, I am rising above the waters. I have built a small kayak for myself and I’m ready to start paddling. I’m ready to start dreaming, vision-casting, and hoping. I’m ready to take steps of inspiration & risk. I’m ready to map it out, dream it up, and live it.

I hope that today you are able to see the small victories in your life. Maybe it looks like being happier today than you were yesterday. Maybe it looks like going on a 1 mile run even though you always swear that you hate running, but at the same time you know that it’s the only thing that is going to make your body feel better. Maybe it looks like going the extra mile in your job even though your job is kicking your butt already and you feel nothing but tired of it. Maybe it means texting a friend and connecting in a fun and surprising way. Maybe it means doing those small responsibilities that you’ve been putting off.

I don’t know what it looks like for you today, but I know it’s there. Somewhere. Hidden away. Waiting for you to find it. Go find it.

It’s Gonna Happen

I wrote this just a few weeks before school started this year. I didn’t post it, but saved it in my drafts. I found it tonight and can’t stop reading it over and over again. The truth really does set you free.

Every summer before going back to school, I have a spiritual and mental push for myself to be more resilient in the next year. To handle things better, to not crumble and break down, and be confident in God’s promises to me. Yet, for the past 2 years of teaching, I’ve seen myself just completely deteriorate from the inside out. The fatigue, pressure, and intensity is all too much for my seemingly fragile soul and I fall apart.

This morning as I reflected on a new school year starting, I kept praying and wanting for this year to be different. I want more for this year, in an internal sense. I now know that bad things are going to happen. Somebody is going to get mad, misunderstand, look down on, question, complain. I’m going to be put through the fire – someone will yell at me, insult me, offend me. Kids will annoy, drain, and infuriate me. Something will go wrong and I will make mistakes every single day. I know this to be the reality of my job and my position.

In the past, I just feared these realities. I hoped and prayed “nothing bad would happen.” And, for the most part, they didn’t. I still pray that these things won’t happen and I still pray for protection. But, I also have a keen awareness that imperfection happens. I will be imperfect, so will students, so will parents, and so will other teachers. And, because of it, “bad things are going to happen.”

My prayer is different this year. I pray that when the attacks come, the fatigue sets in, and my disillusionment overtakes me, that I would grasp on to the peace and joy that is so readily available to me. I pray that I would take on the armor of God. I pray that my heart would remember who I belong to and that nothing can separate me from His love. I pray that my mind would have a calm, steady, and quiet knowing that God is for me, and if that is the case – who can be against me?

When these things happen, would my first mutterings be to Jesus. The storms will come and the waves will rise. The fire intensifies and the pressures cave in. But, these struggles are nothing compared to the glory that is to come.

This year, I pray for resilience. I pray for an acceptance of imperfection and the joy and peace of learning and growing from mistakes.